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15 days ago
By motogp.com

Miller: "I'll be in the top two by Turn 1"

The Australian is adamant his "rocketship" Ducati will fire him into the top two by the first corner of tonight's MotoGP™ season-opener

Ducati Lenovo Team's Jack Miller has predicted teammate Francesco Bagnaia and himself will lead the season-opening MotoGP™ race by the time the premier class field reaches the opening corner of the Losail International Circuit tonight. That's all despite firing from the middle of the second row.

Both Bagnaia and Miller are surrounded by a trio of Yamaha riders, with factory duo Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales joining the Italian on the front row and Petronas Yamaha SRT's Valentino Rossi fronting the second row ahead of Miller. With the Yamaha's severe speed deficit in mind, the number 43 believes his "rocketship" Ducati will launch him past the blue brigade in front of him on the grid by the time they reach Turn 1.

"I think the expectation was from you guys, P5 is relatively fine for me," started the Australian when reflecting on his first Q2 session of the season. "The Ducati is a rocketship off the start line and, for sure, I’ll be in the top 2 by Turn 1. So, I’m not too stressed."

 

"We’re in a fantastic position for the race and I've not got too much more to say. For sure I wanted more [in Q2] but I’m not disappointed; I would be if I was on fourth row. But I definitely felt I had more in the tank."

If Miller's prediction is to come true it'll have huge implications on how the race will pan out. Most believe if the Yamaha riders can hit the front early, they have the pace to be able to pull clear of the chasing pack. However, if the Ducati duo can control it at the front, although they don't appear to have the strongest pace on the grid, the power and grunt of the Desmosedici down the near-kilometre long start-finish straight will make them a nightmare to overtake.

Throw into the mix a huge drop in temperature compared to the rest of the weekend, plus strong gusts of wind throughout the day, and suddenly the opening round of 2021 becomes a total lottery: just how we like it.

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